It’s been dubbed the Qantas vaccine rule. The airline’s CEO Alan Joyce has suggested Qantas will ensure passengers have a COVID-19 vaccination before they are allowed onto an international flight.
“We are looking at changing our terms and conditions to say, for international travellers, that we will ask people to have a vaccination before they can get on the aircraft,” Joyce told Nine.
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The proposed Qantas vaccine rules come as pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca announced it will roll out hundreds of millions of doses of its COVID-19 vaccine before Christmas. Pfizer and Moderna have also announced successful vaccine trials.
“We think with a roll out of a vaccine next year, we are optimistic we could see the borders opening up quite significantly through 2021,” Joyce said.
Vaccine marks the way foward for Qantas
COVID-19 has hit the travel industry particularly hard, with as many as 50 aircraft sealed up and stored on the Sydney Airport runway. According to Joyce the runway was previously one of the biggest in the world.
“It was heartbreaking seeing so many aircraft stuck there,” he said.
Domestic flights are now resuming as state borders come down. Within the first 48 hours of the Victoria-NSW border reopening, 25,000 people booked seats on Qantas and Jetstar flights.
Joyce says passengers should feel that air travel is safe.
“On an aircraft, the air is actually extracted 20 times every hour. In an operating theatre in a hospital it is five times every hour. The filters on the aircraft are hospital grade. They filter out COVID-19.”
As the world waits with bated breath for a vaccine, rigorous testing will be the precursor to the Qantas vaccine regulations. Qantas tests travellers on its repatriation flights for COVID-19 upon departure, and then again when they arrive in Australia.